You, Me, And a Tanuki is a weekly featured blog run by Michelle, a Californian who is currently one of only two foreigners living in Chibu, a tiny fishing village on one of the Oki islands in Japan. Check back every Saturday for a new post or read more on her website here!

My husband and I live on a five square mile island with less than 600 inhabitants. To make matters even cozier, most of our island is mountainous so the houses are clustered together on the coasts where any flat land is available. As a result of our close proximity to our neighbors and the fact that we are the only two foreigners on the island, everyone knows where we live.

This is a great thing most of the time. People often come to our door to give us extra vegetables from their garden or fish they caught. When Khoa and I stayed on the island during New Year’s, the principal of the elementary school saw the light on at our house, figured we were home, and invited us over for a big New Year’s feast.

However, there is a downside to the entire island knowing our whereabouts.

Here’s a recent gmail chat conversation I had with my husband when he was at home (…and I was at work. I’m not perfect guys…yes, I sometimes chat with my husband while I’m at work).

Khoa: omg they’re back

the little girls are back

what should i do?


just ignore them

did you lock the door?

Khoa: no i didnt

they are playing with the doorbell



This was the second time in the same day that two little first grade elementary school girls came to our front door wanting Khoa to come out and play. He had already gone out earlier that day and roamed the neighborhood poking at things with sticks and being silly with them.

We often hear little knocks on our front door and repeated ringings of our doorbell from the neighborhood kids looking for playtime with the weird foreigners. It makes me so happy that even when the kids aren’t at school being forced to play with us, they still want to. But it’s hard when we’re tired and just want to relax (or we’ve already played with them once that same day).

So I guess the “problem” with everyone knowing where we live isn’t a problem at all. We love living on our small island and even though the neighborhood kids want to play with us too often sometimes, we feel lucky to live in a place with such friendly people.

Michelle is originally from California, but  currently living in the tiny fishing village of Chibu, one of the Oki islands in Japan.  Being one of two foreigners living in an island village of a little over 600 people presents many adventures.  Come back every Saturday for a new article featuring the interesting and bizarre things she comes across in her life in rural Japan.  Once a week not enough?  Check out her blog, You, Me, And A Tanuki, for photographs and even more articles.

We’re still looking for more unique and interesting stories from Asia to share with the world, so drop us a line if you’d like to have your own blog featured on RocketNews24.